SPORTS

David Gerken Dead: Fan Found Dead Near Ralph Wilson Stadium After Bills-Dolphins Game

11/16/2012 08:28 pm ET | Updated Jan 30, 2013

A fan was found dead near Ralph Wilson Stadium early Friday morning following the Buffalo Bills' 19-14 win over the Miami Dolphins, according to various reports.

According to the Buffalo News, 26-year-old David Gerken had been ejected from the game and was later reported missing by his brother when he didn't turn up at a prearranged meeting location.

Orchard Park Police Chief Andrew Benz told WBFO that Gerken had made plans to meet with his group nearby the stadium. A search was launched when he didn't turn up, with police using the man's cell phone signal as a guide.

"We ended up learning, through a cell phone company, the general area where his cell phone was located. So we concentrated the search in that vicinity behind the stadium. He was located there," Benz told WBFO News.

The Erie County Sheriff's Department brought in an ATV and Air One helicopter at 5:25 a.m. to assist with the search, which initially began in the woods behind a residential area near Shadow Lane, News 4 Buffalo's Brittni Smallwood told WBEN. The crews then concentrated on an area behind the stadium complex, where the man was found face-down in a creek bed near Smoke's Creek. Police believe the death is a tragic accident.

"He was a great inspiration, he picked me up from rock bottom. It's going to be a tough tomorrow realizing he's not there, even just to say good morning," Brittany Zonneville, Gerken's girlfriend, told 13WHAM News on Friday.

The Buffalo Bills released a statement, via WVIB.com.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of this news this morning. While the loss of life is always tragic, the loss of a young life is even more so. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family. We are currently cooperating with law enforcement officials to find out the details of this unfortunate incident."

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